08/28/2013 1:09PM

Hastings: Kiri’s Gal looks like main speed in feature


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Kiri’s Gal looks like the one they will have to catch in a $17,500 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies that headlines the last Friday evening card at Hastings this year. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint drew six horses and goes as race 7 on an eight-race card that begins at 7:15 p.m. Pacific.

Trained by leading trainer Craig MacPherson, Kiri’s Gal set fast fractions on her way to winning back-to-back sprints before trying a middle distance for the first time in the $50,000 B.C. Cup Debutante. Breaking alertly with Scott Williams aboard in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, Kiri’s Gal opened up a 10-length lead after a half-mile in a wicked 45.76 seconds. She was clinging to the lead after she had gone six furlongs, but not surprisingly she faded to finish last in the 10-horse field.

Before her first and probably last route attempt for the foreseeable future, Kiri’s Gal cruised to a four-length win after setting similar fractions going 6 1/2 furlongs in a $14,000 claiming race July 14. A similar effort here would likely be good enough to win this, and she is reunited with jockey Frank Fuentes, who was aboard for the win and also a 10-length romp in a $5,000 maiden claiming race in her previous start.

There is other potential speed in the field, particularly Courtroom Kiss, and if a duel develops, it could set up nicely for Alwaysredonsunday, who will be making her first start since being claimed by trainer Mike Anderson.

Alwaysredonsunday finished second to Kiri’s Gal on July 14 and then rallied to just miss in an $8,000 claiming race Aug. 16. She has good tactical speed, and if Courtroom Kiss can put enough pressure on Kiri’s Gal, she could pick up the pieces. A positive angle working for her is that according to statistics derived using Daily Racing Form ’s Formulator, the past five years Anderson has a 40 percent strike rate with claimed horses running back the first time.

Courtroom Kiss hasn’t raced since she won a first-level allowance race May 25, but she has fired fresh in the past. Trained by William La Vanway, Courtroom Kiss won her debut last year and also ran a big race to finish third in a $40,000 optional claimer when she came back from a two-month break on April 20. In all of her races, she has been involved right from the start, and at the least she could compromise Kiri’s Gal’s chances if she breaks alertly from her outside post.